Credit: Virtus Bologna
Credit Virtus Bologna

During a radio broadcast, Virtus Segafredo Bologna CEO Luca Baraldi addressed the current situation in the club, explaining and analyzing the efforts being made to ensure an increased fans capacity in Italian indoor halls.

The Italian executive also referred to Nico Mannion’s condition and the comments made on his health based on a photo posted on social media.

This is what Luca Baraldi said on, per Virtus Bologna website:

“There are several teams that could suffer from a lack of ticket sales, and we’re not just talking about soccer. I can’t understand why in other countries they have much higher opening percentages. We, compared to soccer, give a lot more guarantees. Starting at 35% capacity is not feasible, and I am sorry that I am the only one to speak up.

I have a team that costs money and gives a show, I could easily play without thinking about it, but we don’t survive because of the television channels, but because of the people who come to see us. Virtus says that without fans you can’t survive: we went to the PalaDozza with 1,200 people and I got goosebumps. If we had fans against Unics Kazan (editor's note: in the EuroCup semi-finals) we would now be in the EuroLeague.

“Eventually the players feel the need of having fans, and we have the tools to increase the capacity. Sport brings forward so many things, so much money, and we are private companies that must be accountable to their shareholders, otherwise, we do not move forward. I want the chance to have our fans, those who love basketball, those who want to see our players and opponents, and that for two hours we can think about basketball and not about COVID.”

On Nico Mannion and the photos that were published showing him in a bad condition, Baraldi commented: "I am sorry to see things like some exploiting images of Mannion. Wrong images came out, we intervened, we can be annoying but we won because we deserved it. Working at the expense of a 21-year-old's health is not right. We’ll see him back on the court even before people think, and sooner than some journalists who live hundreds of miles away from Bologna say.”

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